Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Down By The Creek

For Lily's birthday, I thought it would be fun to take a walk with the four little ones down by the creek at my parent's ranch. It was a sunny, but cool day. Poor Lily kept stumbling all over the rocks, but slowly we got there. It's the simple things in life that slow us down. My children are good for me in that area. I tend to rush and miss things!
We had fun throwing sticks in the water and watching them float by. To be able to be outside in the fresh air and walk around was so nice after having been cooped up for months and months after my foot surgery. I had to be very careful, but it was worth it. I even managed to keep them from falling into the creek (just barely)!
Here is Jacob avoiding the mud. It had gathered in all the cow hoof prints.
By the time we got back form our walk, the older boys were done helping my dad chuck rocks from the field. He has three4-wheelers now, so we were able to ride together. Josh is a dare-devil, Marcus is extremely cautious. I guess I'm in-between;) The fact is, I LOVED riding with my two older boys! It is definitely speaking their love language.

Thank you Lord, for a fun day with my children! I'm so excited that spring is here.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Are You Thirsty?

I found this in the archives today. I was astounded when I reread this post. I am feeling the exact same way today. I couldn't have expressed it any differently. So here it is again...

I have been thirsty lately. I mean really thirsty. I can't seem to get enough of God's Word. If I have time to read something, I pick up a good Christian book that helps me better myself. I am praying more, finding that time to lift up people and prayer petitions to God.

It makes me a little nervous, though. I wonder what God is preparing me for. Everything I'm reading seems to be on contentment, the value of friendship, staying plugged into God, and pressing in towards Him when He seems distant.

The funny thing is, is He does seem distant right now. I can't explain it or put my finger on it. I haven't heard His voice in a while, not that direct, knock-you-down-with-a-feather voice that makes you wonder how He knows you so intimately. He has been speaking to me through books, Scriptures and circumstances. I know He's there, guiding me and leading me, but it feels like He's letting me develop my faith in Him more, but not just giving me the answer right away.

A lot of issues in my life right now are not going to be resolved in the next few days. The things I'm praying for like my children's Walks with God, my husband's health, my children's attitudes, how to manage my growing family and household are all things that are going to take time. I am waiting on the Lord with expectant hope. That is all I can do.

In the meantime, I trust, live my life as best I can with what I have, and try to adjust my attitudes and actions to what I know to be Biblical and pleasing to God. I fail everyday. But I am determined to not go in my own strength, but in His. I KNOW this pleases Him even if I don't FEEL that affirmation from Him everyday.

I think that is why I'm thirsty, too. I want His affirmation more then my husband's, children's, sister's, parents, and friends. I want to know He is pleased with me as a wife, mother, friend, daughter and more important just me, plain old me. The me that is stripped away of all her roles. The me that was at that retreat a month ago and discovered again some of what she is without her roles. An artist, a cook, a reader, a nature lover, and a child of God.

Are you thirsty? Drink, drink until you are satisfied, if you aren't satisfied, you haven't drank enough!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scrapbook Camp 2011

Every winter/spring, my mom and my twin sister Jackie, try to get together and conquer our picture piles. This year was no exception. I traveled two hours to my mom's house and had a relaxing four days to spend scrapbooking, talking, Bible study and eating. It was wonderful.

I think the best part was not having to discipline during those days. I think it has been taking a lot out of me. I try to be a very consistent parent, so they don't get away with much when ol' Mom's around. I was able to have some wonderful conversations with the Lord about mothering on the way there and back. Also, to be able to praise and worship without interruption was just heavenly.
My mother treated Jackie and I to a new restaurant in town called "The Prodigal Son". All the furniture was mismatched and it was quite cute. Jackie had a yummy pasta dish, Mom had a delicious soup and I tried the onion tart. (Below)
Pendleton is famous for their rodeo so now they have these gigantic boots all over Mainstreet. The kids would have loved it! It was as tall as me!
I am grateful to my husband who watched the kiddos for me for four days so that I could do this. I was able to get completely caught up with 54 scrapbook pages completed and I even made 9 cards to boot.
It is always good to come home. I missed my sweet little kisses and hugs.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cake Capers!

Ever since we got the ROKU and can instantly watch TV shows like Cake Boss (turned down because of the language), Pantry Raid and such, I am finding that my children are getting more and more interested in the kitchen. I treated myself to a simple cake decorating kit that had some tips and pastry bags. Now they are fighting each other for a turn in the kitchen!
We made a fun homemade yellow cake that was double-layered. I let Jess frost it. I outlined the clover and she filled it in. She got the concept very fast. We sprinkled it with some fun green sugar crystals.
Then I made a double layer carrot/apple cake. We made a delicious cream cheese frosting to go over it. Then I let her go crazy with the orange frosting!
For Lily's birthday we made homemade white cake with purple buttercream frosting. I love teaching the kids colors when we do the dye. I also treated myself to a cupcake stand that holds 13 cupcakes. The kids loved it! Andrew just likes tearing it apart and putting it back together again. It came with a little wrench, so the child is in heaven!
Marcus is going to make a new recipe tonight. Beef with noodles and a light sauce. It looks easy and fun!
I continue to refine my non-stressing skills as I bring the children in the kitchen more. The messes can make me crazy and I have to be so careful to bite my tongue and say, "now you get to clean that up". They are going to make messes, for heaven's sake. Why can't I get that into my head? I need to allow for the extra clean up and expect that it is going to take longer. If I can't allow for it and time is short, than I need to just say "No" that day. It is better than losing it and damaging my relationship with my children.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lily Turns Two!

It has happened! My baby has turned two. How can it be? Where did the time go? I ask myself this when any of my children's birthdays comes around.

Dear Lily,

I want you to know how much I love you. You have brought joy to our lives. You make us laugh so hard. You are a delight to your family. You will always be the "baby".

I am so grateful that I have a second chance at having a girl. I get to dress you up pretty (if I can beat your sister to it) and put your hair in ponytails and whale spouts. I'm so glad you like to be girlie.

I am amazed how much you are looking like Jacob. I love your blond hair and blue eyes.

My sweet, even though you are pretty on the outside, my prayer is that you will be pretty on the inside. My hope is that you will grow in the Lord as you realize you become more aware of who He is. May the Lord keep you safe and sound as you continue to explore your world.

I love you so much, my darling daughter!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Self-Control: Our Wall of Protection

We are the temple of God and self control is the wall of protection. It fortifies all that is within. The quality of self-control is that which secures our freedom to love, to experience joy, to know peace, to respond with patience, to have a kind disposition, to act out of goodness, to step out in faithfulness, and to agree with gentleness. How? Because self-control is the ability to make choices which invite and enhance the authority and filling of the Holy Spirit. Self-control is the decision to remain within the boundaries of victory!

Can you think of any way in which the enemy has stolen victory from you through a broken-down wall in your life? I know I can. I get overwhelmed, irritable, cranky, and short with all around me. I lose my joy and peace in my mothering, homeschooling and outside ministries.

Any out-of-control area in our lives, no matter how big or how small, is an open invitation to the enemy. Believe me, he has memorized every strength and every weakness in our lives. He is always on the lookout for that one crumbling section of your protective wall-that one out-of-control area-where he will enter and play havoc in your life. His weapons are your greatest temptations. Your wounds are guilt, shame, frustration, and failure; his goal is to hold your captive fora s long as possible.

Are you a prisoner of war?
Have you been in captivity?
Do you deeply desire an end to your defeat?
Do you want to know the protection and daily victory of self-control?

Get on your knees and ask God if there is something hindering you from a victorious life? Confess and be restored. Get behind that wall of protection as you learn to live a self-controlled life.

God wants His best for His children. He wants us to take back ground that the enemy has stolen from us.

Live in VICTORY my friends!!!!

(Much of this was taken from Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself")

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Company I Keep

Let me be known by the company I keep
By the One who determines each day that I greet
From the moment I wake til He rocks me to sleep
Let me be known by the company I keep!

Let me be known by the company I keep
When the valleys are low and the mountains are steep
By the One who holds fast when swift waters are deep
Let me be known by the company I keep!

Let me be known for the company I keep
By the One who implores me to sit at His feet
And quickens my soul to discern what is deep
Let me be known by the company I keep!

Let me be known by the company I keep
Eclipsed by your presence that I may decrease
Til all You have chosen this traveler to meet
 No longer see me but the Company I keep!

-Beth Moore

I just finished "Living Beyond Yourself" a study on the Fruit of the Spirit. It was my second time through this study and I think I enjoyed even more this time.

I have been challenged in so many ways. My actions, my thinking, my parenting, my marriage. Everything is affected when I am not filled with His Spirit.

My new prayer is to LOVE. If I can love, I can forgive. If I can love, I will have patience. If I can love, I will find joy and so on and so on.

Oh, the Lord is so good to me! What would I ever do without Him?

My next study is going to be on Revelation. I am looking forward to learning more and more of a seemingly confusing book of the Bible.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Cooking Lessons

I decided to make lasagna the other day. If I'm going to go through the trouble of making it, I always make two at a time. I actually do that with most casseroles then I stick the extra one in a freezer for a meal later, or if someone needs a meal. Very handy!

I asked Jess and Andrew if they would like to make their own lasagnas. They were very excited! They helped me prepare all the ingredients and then I showed them how to layer them. They did a fabulous job! Jessica went really crazy with the cheese, but how can you honestly have enough cheese? REALLY?
We turned one of these loaves of bread into garlic bread and Andrew helped me make the blueberry oatmeal crisp for dessert. He had even helped pick the blueberries last year, so it was ultra-satisfying for him!
I sauteed up some cabbage and Jess made us some buttered corn. The whole meal was very tasty!

My kids woke up to Mom flipping whole wheat pancakes with her new bicycle helmet on. My whistle and bathrobe made this ensemble complete!  We all had a good laugh.  I'm trying to think of silly things to do that they don't expect that doesn't take lots of energy.

Wish the weather were a bit warmer and the rain would go away. I can't wait to ride my bike in the sunshine!
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Jessica's Meal

As a mother, I am trying to work myself out of a job. One of my main goals is for my children to be self-sufficient. When they are 13 years old, I want them to be able to plan and cook a well-balanced meal, do their own laundry and have the basics of good-housekeeping down.

Jessica has been asking to cook more and more, so I am calling her in the kitchen to help me make dinner.  Here she is showing off her "well-balanced" meal and her pretty place settings.
She made whole wheat dinner rolls (the pan was empty by the end of the meal). I made the brown rice pilaf, which is not my kid's favorite.

She made buttered corn and oven-baked chicken with herbs from the garden. She didn't want to touch the raw chicken, so we have a little work to do in that dept.

She also made vanilla pudding in fancy  dishes for dessert. She was very proud of herself and shined when we all thanked the cook.

I can't wait for the day when I can say, "Jessica, can you please make us dinner?" and she will know just what to do!
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Some Reflection

I found this in the archives and thought I would do a repost.

I am reading this amazing book by Carol Kent called "Secret Longings of The Heart". It has some amazing insight.

I have been struggling with insignificance. I wonder am I really making a difference for God cooped up in my home, ministering to what seem to be very ungrateful children and a dear husband who just "doesn't know what he has". Isn't that shameful?

I also struggle with my spirituality. Am I spiritual enough? Is God pleased with me in this area?

Corrie Ten Boom says, "I have learned in my years on earth to hold everything loosely, because when I hold things tightly, God has to pry my fingers away. And that hurts. That hurts." Corrie had learned the secret-the essence of true spirituality. What is it? Relinquishment, plain and simple.

J. Oswald Sanders defines this well: "Spirituality is not easy to define, but its presence or absence can easily be discerned...It is the power to change the atmosphere by one's presence, the UNCONSCIOUS influence that makes Christ and spiritual things real to others."

Do you know what this means? This means I don't have to strive to be spiritual. By being just me, praying, listening for God, waiting for His direction, and following the duties that He has given to me right now faithfully, is all I need to do. I am unconsciously influencing others! For someone who has struggled with pride endlessly, this is a GOOD thing!

So my prayer today is this, " Dear God, please let me continue to do what you have asked me to do. May I not strive to be spiritual, but to just be a faithful follower of you. Let me influence others for Jesus without me even knowing it. I pray that when I get to heaven I will be shocked at how I've influenced others for Your Glory. Help me be the Daughter you would have me be. Thank you, Jesus, for dying for me so that I might be forgiven for the many sins that I commit each day. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to help me, strengthen me, and give me counsel each and every day. Thank you that you do not desert me and leave me to my own devices. You are here and now and ever more, always guiding, loving, and comforting me. All praise be to God for any influence I might yield on anyone in this fallen world. May your light shine brightly in my life! Amen!"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Refreshment for Body and Soul

First of all, I want to thank all of you who prayed for me when I sent out that SOS. God is so faithful and good!

After simmering a pot of broth for 12 hours, I started to strain it into another pot in the sink. My oatmeal started boiling so I left it sitting there. I fed the kids and went to put a dirty bowl in the sink when I looked at my broth. There were 3 dirty oatmeal bowls sunk to the bottom of my broth! I took a deep breath and ran to my room and started sobbing. I'm so thankful I didn't yell at them. They didn't know, they thought it was just a pot of greasy water sitting in the sink.

When I went to my room, I just kept crying and asking God to help me. It wasn't the broth, it was the everything. Marcus came in with his Bible open and pointed a scripture to me in Isaiah. It was the one about God being our strength in our time of trouble. Perfect! I was so encouraged by that. Josh came and and tried to comfort me by sympathizing with me. It was truly sweet. I don't always hide my struggles from them. They are going to have to know how to deal with their wives when they are emotional and hormonal. They were truly sweet in my little "moment".

I wiped my eyes and blew my nose after putting things into perspective. I came out of my room, dumped the broth down the sink, praising God that all of it couldn't fit in the pot, some of it was still in a different pot waiting to be strained, so I had enough to make chicken and dumplings that night. I only had to throw a gallon and a half away.

I have really been wanting to exercise, but am still limited because of my foot. I went out to the shed for something and saw Steve's nice bike sitting there. Hmmmm, I wondered if I could ride it? I took it out and went for a short ride up the driveway. It didn't hurt! I told the kids that God had answered my prayers. I am going to get to exercise again! Being able to get out into the fresh air, sunshine and getting my heart rate up will do wonders for my disposition and helps me keep my spirits up. Now that Josh is old enough to babysit, going for a half hour spin on my bike will do me a world of good.

Steve can't ride his bike anymore because of the arthritis is his knee. I had never bought a bought because my hips were in such bad shape after having all my babies. Now that I have healed, I graciously, "claimed" Steve's bike and feel good about it being used again. It is a nice mountain bike, but Steve needs to teach me how to use all the gears. I just get on and peddle,but apparently there is a technique to it.

I also asked Steve for the afternoon off. I left at 12:00 and did errands, shopped and got my hair done. It was wonderful to be gone until 4:00 p.m. I brought my bike just in case, but it started raining so I didn't get to ride it yet. I got home in time to clean up the house and then made supper. Thank you, Honey!!!!

I'm hoping today that I will be able to load of Jess and Andrew's bikes so that I can take them for a little ride too. I am looking forward to be able to do more exercising with my children. Several of them were running with me before my surgery. I know they miss it too.

It will be a great motivator for them to get their homeschooling done in a timely fashion!

Ah, life is good. God is good. What more can I want?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Do Not Grow Weary

I have read this verse so many times, "Do not grow weary in doing good." But I have to confess, this morning as I was doing my devotions, I realized that I was weary. I started crying and asking God to help me.

For the past month and a half I have been pretty much on my own. Steve has had lots of out of town firefighter classes, meetings, Tae Kwon Do classes, and overtime. He is also faithful to workout two hours as day.  I think I have seen him maybe five waking hours each week for the past month and a half.

I have been dealing with so many different issues with the children. All six of them seem to be going through some kind of "stage". One child in particular has required so much disciplining that I feel so angry all day by his insolence and selfish attitude.

The other day as Steve was about to go to his Tae Kwon Do classes (he helps teach one, and then he goes to his own after that), I told him I needed help. I believe the bigger boys especially need him to spend time with them. I honestly think they are sick of me! Bless his heart, he skipped class and took both of them for a drive and out to dinner. They were different children when they came back. I recognized that I am not the only one needing him to be home a bit more. I think Steve is feeling it too. I'm grateful for that. It was cool to hear about their camping plans for the summer.

I have stepped up our homeschooling by being more consistent in our reading, doing an online typing course, and adding grammar and cursive. We used to get done around 11:00ish, now we are finishing around 1:30. I'm not used to this yet, nor are they. That has made it a bit rough, too. Anytime your routine is changed, it makes for conflict.

I would appreciate your prayers for me. I need the Lord to pour out His Spirit on me. Refresh my weary soul and give me a fresh and new vision. If I am to stop doing something, I need wisdom. Also, pray that my firefighter would be able to stay home a bit more. I really am not Super Woman!

Thanks for letting me share. I know and believe that God will provide everything I need. But it never hurts to send out an SOS.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Turning Panic to Peace

 Three days ago, hubby and I bought our first laptop. We were so excited! When we were getting everything set up, the tech went on and on about how wonderful home group sharing was between your desktop and your laptop. I went home and set it up. The next day, I went to check my email. Everything had disappeared, my email, my documents,music and my pictures. Gone! I started to panic and called the tech. He wasn't in (of course). So I started praying. I then called my regular computer repair guy, Bruce. Bruce was so kind, as I told him what happened while trying to not completely freak out. He told me I could drop it off and he would take a look.

Later I told my friend, Catherine, that I felt like I was holding my "shield of faith" half way up. I went there. I faced the thought "what if all my pictures and documents from the last ten years are gone?" It was a terrible thought, yet I couldn't help thanking God that I had a blog that has all my devotions and writings on it. The pictures are there as well, not to mention 40 plus scrapbooks of hard copies. It wasn't like my house had burned down and all was lost. I kept trying to put it into perspective and give the problem back to God until I knew something.

After my physical therapy appointment, I went to see about my computer. I walked in and Bruce smiled and said he had found everything. It was just hidden. I was so grateful, yet ashamed of how I had acted. My lack of trust had affected my day.

I found myself grumping at my children when they came to me with a menial problem (menial compared to mine, of course). I had to apologize more than once for snapping at them. I fought that tendency all day. Why must I be so self-absorbed?

I looked back on the experience and decided to give myself a C. The good news is that I would have given myself a F not that long ago. This kind of stuff drives me crazy. I'm so thankful that God is changing me. I'm so thankful that I am a better listener.

All the glory be to God!

My goal now is when I am getting ready to panic, to instead turn it into prayer which will result in peace.

What are the types of things you tend to panic about?

What is your reaction?

Do you turn to a friend first, or to God?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Parable of the Popcorn

Dear Mothers,

A few days ago, I had to take my 23 month-old to the emergency room. She had shoved a popcorn kernel way up into her nostril and there was no way I was going to be able to get it out.

After watching her go through the trauma of having it removed, I felt God giving me a word picture about her ordeal.

In order to get Lily to stop fighting the, they wrapped her arms and upper body tightly in a sheet. As she was bound and helpless, she was looking into my eyes, wanting me to free her. It broke my heart to not be able to do anything but stroke her feet and pray for her. I was just hoping my presence would be enough. Through tears I repeated over and over that I loved her and that it would be O.K, but knowing that I couldn’t remove the pain of the process in which the kernel had to come out.

Later I thought about when I am in my own trials. The trial is like a sheet wrapped so tightly around me, I sometimes feel like I can’t even breathe. In my own short-sightedness, I look to my Heavenly Father with pleading eyes saying, “God make this stop! I’m scared. It hurts. Will it end soon?” Sometimes I am hurt and confused when He doesn’t take away the pain right away. I usually do not even realize it at the time that He is allowing something or someone to be “plucked” out of my life, which might be hindering my relationship with God. This foreign object could be as simple as unforgiveness and as complicated as pride.

I think we sometimes envision God sort of sitting idly in the” waiting room” of Heaven instead knowing His Holy Presence with me, stroking my brow and saying, “It will be over soon. Trust me, I will use this, my child.” He loves us so much. It must cost the perfect Father dearly to see His children suffer so.

Has God allowed a trial in your life that has left you questioning His goodness? His sovereignty? His mercy?

Sometimes we are being disciplined through our trials and other times we are being cut back and pruned so that we can bear even greater fruit. Whichever it might be, they both can be extremely painful.

I do know that when you seek Him with all of your heart, you will find Him. He hasn’t left. He is there touching you, and soothing you. The Spirit is praying for you with “groanings that words cannot express.”

“Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you.”

His Presence is with Us!

From One Mom to Another,
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